November 2022 - Science Educator Update

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

Oregon Science Educator Update                                                              November 3, 2022

Native American Heritage Month Logo

Resources to Highlight 

November is Native American Heritage Month. Heritage months provide important opportunities to recognize  the contributions and histories of groups often underrepresented in textbooks and traditional curriculum materials. To honor Native American Heritage Month, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and current traditions of Native Americans.

In addition, this is an opportunity to continue to elevate the nine Essential Understandings to serve as an introduction to the vast diversity of the Native American experience in Oregon and the Tribal History / Shared History lessons. These lessons create opportunities to expand learning throughout the school year to elevate tribal nations’ histories and perspectives. 

Here are some additional resources as you continue to engage diverse voices, contributions, and perspectives in science education this month and beyond

  • Dr. Jessica Hernandez, a Maya Ch'orti' and Zapotec environmental scientist, discusses the role of Indigenous science, historical displacement of Indigenous communities, and how important it is to ensure Indigenous people and their knowledge are centered as we engage in science endeavors such as climate change via a Short Wave podcast.
  • As a member of the Wailacki tribe of the Round Valley Indian Tribes and NASA astronaut, Nicole Mann is the first Native American woman to go to space. In early October 2022, Mann launched from the Kennedy Space Center as the mission commander for six-months aboard the International Space Station
  • Indigenous ways of knowing are sometimes thought to be in opposition to and detrimental to the learning of Western Science. This STEM Teaching Tool explores Teaching STEM In Ways that Respect and Build Upon Indigenous Peoples' Rights. In addition, Dr. Philip Bell has curated a collection of resources to  honor and elevate Indigenous ways of knowing in science education. 

Crosscutting Concepts list from the NGSS

Using Crosscutting Concepts 

The Science State Collaborative branch of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) developed a resource on using crosscutting concepts to prompt student thinking. In addition, STEM Teaching Tools has also released a new resource focusing on why and how to use crosscutting concepts in science instruction

The crosscutting concepts (CCCs) are essential tools for three-dimensional teaching and learning in science. These are concepts that hold true across the natural and engineered world. Students can use them to make connections across seemingly disparate disciplines or situations, connect new learning to prior experiences, and more deeply engage with material across the other dimensions.. Below are a few examples of possible classroom engagement strategies with student questions and sentence stems.

  • Examples of possible teachers’ questions that utilize the crosscutting concepts to focus students’ thinking on making sense of phenomena include:
    • How do the components of a system change when more energy is added to the system?
    • How do the patterns in the data we collected help provide evidence that a mathematical relationship exists between the mass of a moving object and the energy that object transfers? 
  • Examples of possible crosscutting sentence stems that should be followed by students supporting their responses with evidence:
    • The changes in the system were caused by increasing the flow of energy into the system from _______________. Evidence to support my explanation is ____________________.
    • The phenomenon of _______________ is caused by _______________. Evidence to support this explanation (claim) is ________________.

Wisdom Logo

Workshops, Webinars and Opportunities

  • November 17, 2022, from 12:00 - 1:00 pm PST, Roberta (Bobbie) Connor, the director of Tamástslikt (Tah-MAHST-slickt) Cultural Institute will be engaging in a discussion on Sense of Place PNW: Indigenous Perspectives on Earth, Water, and Sky. Register for this webinar today as space is limited.
  • November 17th,2022, from 4:00 - 5:00 pm PST, Oregon Department of Education will host a conversation about the new launch of the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Oregon Open Learning Group and the intersection of digital literacy and social emotional learning. You can register to attend the session through this Zoom link.
  • Through November 18, 2022, Oregon Career Information System is offering free training for staff any staff member interested in participating in the statewide trainings. To learn more and register, please visit the Oregon CIS website.
  • November 30, 2020, Vernier Science Education Inspiration Grants applications are due. This new grant program recognizes innovative educators who currently engage—or seek to engage—their students through creative implementation of Vernier technology.
  • November 2022 - January 2023, Portland Metro STEM Partnership will be holding numerous virtual trainings for the High School Science for All aka "Patterns" courses (Physics, Chemistry, Biology). To register and learn more about educator stipends visit the PMSP professional learning page. 
  • Recorded on October 20, 2022, STEM Teacher Leadership Network held a webinar focusing on building resilience for the climate anxious generation. To watch this webinar and learn more, visit the their STEMTLnet website.

Million Girls Moonshot Logo

Million Girls Moonshot - Applications Open

The Million Girls Moonshot seeks to re-imagine who can engineer, who can build, and who can make. It will inspire and prepare the next generation of innovators by engaging one million more girls in STEM learning opportunities through afterschool and summer programs over the next 5 years.

Applications are now open to become a member of the next Million Girls Moonshot Flight Crew.

Do your best

2022-2023 Interim Assessments Now Available

Oregon’s Interim Assessments in ELA, Math, and Science are now available for the 2022-2023 school year. Schools and districts may administer these assessments to students in-person or remotely. Information and professional learning resources to support test selection, administration, scoring, and data use are available on ODE’s Interim Assessment webpage

Contact your District Test Coordinator (DTC) to activate interim assessments. Please contact Andrew Byerley, Math Assessment Specialist, with questions or support needs.


Don't Forget - Nominate an Outstanding 7-12 Science Educator

The PAEMST program is pleased to announce that nominations and applications for the 2022–2023 awards cycle are open.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K–12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching.

Anyone—principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public—may nominate exceptional STEM teachers who are currently teaching grades 7-12 for the 2022–2023 award year. Teachers may also apply directly at

The nomination deadline is January 9, 202 and the application deadline is February 62023

Students Hands Raised

Additional updates and resources such as standards level guidance documents, learning progressions, and crosswalks can be found on the Science Standards page.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Deb Bailey or Kama Almasi, STEM Education Specialists, or Jamie Rumage, Science Education Specialist, if you have any questions or concerns.

If you have other colleagues that are interested in receiving this newsletter, please direct them to this science newsletter registration page.

The materials contained in the Department of Education’s Oregon Science Educator Update are drawn from both internal and external sources and inclusion of external materials does not necessarily indicate Oregon Department of Education endorsement.